The Championship is a closely fought league and it takes a great deal to win promotion to the Premier League. Only eight points separate sixth from 14th place and the two teams currently occupying those positions meet in this game. It’s a match Blackburn have to win if they are to retain any hope of winning promotion this season.
A few bad results soon see you drop like a stone in the Championship. That’s what has been happening to Blackburn Rovers in recent weeks. They were as high as eighth in the table but after three straight defeats have dropped to 14th. There are no relegation worries but the gap between them and the final promotion play-off position is now eight points. That’s a gap that will go into double figures if this match is lost.
Blackburn had put themselves into play-off contention with a run of four straight wins but it’s all gone wrong recently. A 5-2 loss at in-form Brentford looks a bad result on paper. It’s even worse when revealing that Blackburn led 2-0 inside seven minutes. A home loss to Bristol City followed and in midweek, they lost to an 86th minute goal away at relegation-threatened Reading.
The home side are 2/1 (3.0) at Bet365 to get a home win in this game. They have won seven home league games including three in a row before the loss to BrIstol City. It takes a good team to beat them at home and their three defeats have come against sides all currently in the top five.
Middlesbrough would probably rather be playing Manchester City at home in the FA Cup this weekend but lost to Newport County. That does at least allow them to concentrate on their league form. They occupy sixth place and are nine points behind the automatic promotion places with a game in hand. More worrying is the fact they are only ahead of seventh-placed Derby County on goal difference. Derby are on FA Cup duty this weekend, so will have a game in hand on Boro after this weekend.
Only one of the last four Middlesbrough league games has ended in a win for them. Midweek saw a six-game unbeaten league run end with defeat at Sheffield United. Boro need to get back in winning ways and are 13/8 (2.61) at William Hill to get their eighth away league win of the season. Before the defeat at third-place Sheffield United, they’d won three of the last four on their travels.
Blackburn Rovers are unbeaten in their last seven games against Middlesbrough. Five of the last six have ended in draws and that’s what happened in their most recent meeting. December saw Boro draw 1-1 at home to Blackburn after going one down in the first half. It’s 11/5 (3.2) this game ends all-square.
Middlesbrough will be without the suspended Daniel Ayala. Daniel Flint will also miss out.. Blackburn will recall top strikers Danny Graham and Bradley Dack who were on the bench in midweek.
Both Teams to Score
Both teams have scored in four of the last five games played between these two teams. Middlesbrough have gone seven league and cup games without keeping a clean sheet. It’s three games without a clean sheet for Blackburn and the odds on both teams scoring are 10/11 (1.91) at Unibet.
Low Scoring Game?
No side has conceded less away goals in the Championship this season than Middlesbrough. Just 14 in 16 games and four of their last seven on the road have seen under 2.5 goals scored in them. Boro also have the best overall defensive record in this league. You can get odds of 6/10 (1.6) on under 2.5 goals being scored in this match.
This is a tough one but the fact Blackburn are in poor form tips the balance in favour of Middlesbrough. An away win with under 2.5 goals scored is 4/1 (5.0) at Betfair.